Willanette Ball

Alton | Tuesday, May 13 2014

Willanette Ball moved to her heavenly reward on May 13, 2014 at the age of 98. Affectionately known as “Billie,” she was the daughter of William and Annetta (Lortz) Groves. Born August 26, 1915, she was the 2nd child of that marriage. A lifelong resident of North Alton, she married her childhood sweetheart, Harris L. Ball on November 24, 1940. They were married for 56 years. He preceded her in death on October 2, 1996. Education was the cornerstone of her makeup. Graduating from Alton High School at 15, she received a scholarship from the Haskell family and attended Shurtleff College. Her teaching career began in a one room school in Bunker Hill/Dorsey. She was the elocutionist for Robert Wadlow, Alton’s “Gentle Giant.” In 1954 she became the first special education teacher for the Alton School System. A devout Christian, she was a life-long member of Elm Street Presbyterian Church where she taught Sunday school, was a leader in Christian education, a deacon, Elder, and member of the choir. Always giving, she was a girl scout leader, and volunteer for the Red Cross. Willanette was a great lover of nature and literature. She expressed her strong faith and devotion through writing poems. She will be remembered as a person who truly lived a Christian life, demonstrating daily her love, faith, and commitment to God and her family. Her words of wisdom will always bring strength and peace to those she loved and who loved her. Surviving is a daughter, Betty Tuetken of St. George, UT, two granddaughters, Dannette Robinson (Clint) of Houston, TX, Sarah McNiven (Paul) of Austin, TX, and two great grandchildren, Pierce and Seth McNiven. Preceded her in death are her parents, William and Annetta Groves, her husband, Harris Ball, sisters, Maxine Quackenbush and Bernadine Terpening, a brother, George Groves, and a son-in-law, Carl F. Tuetken. Visitation will be from 4:00-8:00 p.m. Friday, May 16, 2014 at Gent Funeral Home in Alton where funeral services will be at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, May 17, 2014. Reverend Randy Butler will officiate. Burial will be at Valhalla Memorial Park in Godfrey. Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association. Online guestbook and information may be found at

Obit Provided By:
Gent Funeral Home

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